Freed men linked to Casablanca suspect
3 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — The five men who were arrested in the Netherlands last October on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack and later released, had links to a man allegedly involved in the Casablanca bombings in May, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has claimed.
In a letter sent to the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, the minister said the five men were arrested based on a information from the Dutch secret service AIVD, which indicated the men had spoken about a forthcoming action in “very specific but veiled terms”.
Based on past experience, the AIVD said the terms were used to indicate terrorist attacks. It also claimed that two of the arrested men had recently been in Pakistan, where one of them attended am illegal paramilitary training camp.
Two of the arrested men were from Amsterdam, while the others were detained in their home cities of Amersfoort, The Hague and Schiedam. Justice officials said their arrests thwarted a possible terrorist attack, but did not know when or where the attack would take place.
All five men were detained on 17 October, but one was released shortly thereafter due to a lack of evidence. The remaining four were released a week and a half after their arrest.
Meanwhile, in response to questions put by the Liberal VVD party, Minister Donner has revealed that the men were allegedly in contact with someone in Spain who is believed to have ordered a false passport, news agency ANP reported.
The man is wanted in the Moroccan capital of Casablanca on suspicion he was involved in the 16 May bomb attacks against restaurants, a hotel and Jewish targets, which killed in total 45 people. He has been arrested by Spanish police and has since been extradited to Morocco.
And after the arrest of the five men, a testament was allegedly seized when police carried out house raids. Such a testament is often used by Muslim radicals involved in jihad, the Islamic holy war, RTL reported. Police also allegedly seized computers, discs, videotapes and cassettes, plus a forged passport and license.
But despite the fact a judge ruled on 20 October that the men should remain in custody on suspicion of preparing an explosion, membership of a criminal organisation and the forgery of travel documents, they were later released due to “insufficient serious objections” to their release, Donner said.
The AIVD has indicated it had become aware of the possible attack as part of its continuing investigations into extremist Muslims in the Netherlands. It had previously estimated that more than 100 radical Muslims were active in the country and Eindhoven was singled out as a hotbed of Islamic extremists.
Two terrorist trials ended in acquittals in December 2002 and in June 2003 due to the fact the AIVD did not reveal classified information in court. The prosecution has appealed against both rulings.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news